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OPINION | LETTERS TO THE EDITOR: Care for wild places | Safe, affordable care | Deadline extension

March 27, 2021 at 9:01 a.m.

Care for wild places

Dr. Neil Compton's successful efforts to rally state and national support for the creation of the Buffalo National River is a continuing inspiration to the Ozark Society and all who strive for natural resource conservation in Arkansas. Our nation's first national river will celebrate its 50th anniversary in 2022. The Ozark Society will celebrate its 60th anniversary at the same time.

In the past decades, Ozark Society membership has grown to more than 1,000 people across several states in and near the Ozark region. Our work continues to educate the public to conserve our precious natural areas. With our partner organization, the Ozark Society Foundation, we are leading float trips, hikes, and educational programs. We publish books and give grants to youth education. In 2021 we will launch a new award for environmental writing, and produce a documentary film on public involvement in the history of the Buffalo River.

We honor the memory of Dr. Neil Compton, Ozark Society founder, by continuing his work and remembering his inspirational words: "The challenge goes on. There are other lands and rivers, other wilderness areas, to save and to share with all. I challenge you to step forward to protect and care for the wild places you love best."




Little Rock

David Peterson is Ozark Society president; Marvin Schwartz is chair of the Ozark Society Foundation.

Safe, affordable care

As a practicing certified registered nurse anesthetist (CRNA) in Arkansas, I am pleased patients now have increased access to safe, affordable care with the passage of House Bill 1198.

This action is a win for patients throughout Arkansas. It not only brings the state in line with a current Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services waiver, but also with most states in the nation. Arkansas will be the 42nd state to not have supervision for CRNAs in its Nurse Practice Act. This will allow for maximization of the health-care work force and decrease both health-care operational costs for hospitals and liability costs for CRNAs and physicians. Hospitals in states with similar laws have enhanced capability to provide high-quality, cost-effective anesthesia services.

Today in Arkansas, anesthesia services are provided solely by CRNAs in all of our critical-access hospitals that offer surgical services, and in 90 percent of our rural hospitals. They comprise 68 percent of the state's anesthesia care providers. This bill recognizes that CRNAs are qualified to make decisions regarding all aspects of anesthesia care based on their education, licensure, and certification.

The bill provides that nurse anesthetists may, within scope of practice, administer drugs pre-operatively and post-operatively in connection with an anesthetic or other operative or invasive procedure, but only in consultation with a physician, dentist or health-care professional already lawfully entitled to order anesthesia. It does not call for the opening or licensure of pain-management clinics.

I applaud the passage of HB1198 and thank Gov. Asa Hutchinson for signing the bill to ensure all residents of Arkansas have access to affordable, safe and high-quality surgical, obstetrical and emergency care close to home.


Hot Springs

Deadline extension

On behalf of AARP Arkansas members, I thank Gov. Asa Hutchinson for his decision to extend the tax deadline by more than a month, a decision crucial for many Arkansans. An extension is important to accommodate the additional strain on tax filers, especially older Arkansans who continue to avoid public places and who may be unable to get the tax-preparation services they need. This decision is an important step to protecting the health and financial security of older and at-risk Arkansans.



Must preserve nature

A proposed new development near Craig State Fish Hatchery concerns me enough to beg city officials or whoever is responsible for housing development in wetlands habitat to put on the brakes, and rethink the presence of more housing in a place where birds and waterfowl of all kinds have been thriving. The whole area is growing rapidly, but certain natural areas should be preserved and enjoyed by all who love nature, birding, hiking, all in a beautiful, unspoiled space. Parks are fine, but we need more than ball parks or tennis courts. We crave nature and all we can learn from the natural environment, now more than ever.

If you don't believe me, I invite you to visit the once-beautiful farmland and natural places that existed in the San Fernando Valley in California just 60 years ago. No trace of that beautiful place remains now. The green hills, lakes and streams, orchards and open space are now covered with concrete, endless housing developments and freeways.

I hope this does not happen here. We need to preserve the rare natural places that still exist, for the good of wildlife and people alike.



Moral high ground

Gov. Asa Hutchinson signed into law historic "stand your ground" legislation. The apostle Paul continually urged Christians to do likewise: Don't yield the moral high ground. Lift high the standards (regimental colors). Having done all you can do to stand, then stand.

Instead, Republican U.S. senators (including Boozman and Cotton) care more about their re-election than about the future of this nation. I believe Trump will return in 2024.

According to divine law, there are misdemeanors and felonies. Transgressions and offenses are misdemeanors. Abominations are felonies. By not convicting Trump, the U.S. Senate committed an abomination. The consequence will arrive in 2024.




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